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Joseph Robinson Parrott Day
OXFORD — On Sept. 19, the Town of Oxford Board of Selectmen proclaimed Oct. 13 Joseph Robinson Parrott Day in and for Oxford.
J.R. Parrott was the grandson and namesake of Joseph Robinson, founder of the Robinson Manufacturing Company that remained in Oxford from 1862-2004. J.R.'s mother was the oldest daughter of the Robinsons and along with her husband, George Parrott, lived in the town for more than 60 years. Along with five children who died in infancy, the parents are buried in the Riverside Cemetery of the Congregational Church in Oxford.
Parrott, after obtaining his B.A. and law degree, both from Yale University, moved to Jacksonville, FL. He became a close associate of the Florida real estate and railroad builder Henry Flagler. J.R. led banks, financial institutions, hotel chains and was an investor in the Standard Oil companies run by the Rockefeller family.
What the resolution recognizes is that despite his lot in Florida, New York and abroad, J.R. returned to the village of his birth every summer of his adult life. He owned all of what are now Megquier and Black Island on Thompson Lake and vacationed in the big yellow house there. From 1893 until his death in 1913, despite numerous business commitments, Parrott came home for rest. In failing health in 1913, he decided to remain on Megquier Island for a number of months.
On Oct. 13, at 10 p.m. J.R. had a fatal heart attack and died on the island. He's buried, along with his wife Helen, in the Evergreen Cemetery in Jacksonville, FL.
In the summer of 1929, celebrating Oxford's 100th birthday as a town, a local newspaper ran a piece describing who are among its the most famous sons and daughters. One of those praised for his accomplishments was Joseph (J.R.) Parrott.
Town of Oxford
October 13, 2013
Whereas, Joseph Robinson Parrott was born in Oxford, Maine on Saturday, October 30, 1858;
Whereas, His father George Johnson Parrott and his mother Marie Sarah Robinson lived in Oxford for 60 years until their respective deaths and are buried in the Riverside Cemetery;
Whereas, J.R. Parrott commenced his educator in 1863 in the District 3 Oxford village elementary school;
Whereas, J.R. received his bachelor's degree from Yale in 1883, and law degree from it in 1885;
Whereas, Mr. Parrott entered the world of law, railroading, banking, finance, newspaper ownership and philanthropy from 1888 to his death in 1913 with extraordinary success;
Whereas, J.R. by his business acumen and intelligence was president of the Florida East Coast Railroad, nine of Florida's finest hotels, a steamship line that ran ferries from Key West to Havana;
Whereas, Mr. Parrott was the primary financial planner behind the effort to build an overseas highway that ran from Miami across the Atlantic Ocean to Key West that took more than a decade to complete at a cost of many millions of dollars;
Whereas, J.R. was personally selected by Henry Flagler to succeed him as president of all the Flagler holdings in Florida;
Whereas, Mr. Parrott was a business partner of the famed financier John D. Rockefeller in Standard Oil companies;
Whereas, J.R., despite his time consuming commitment to numerous financial ventures remained the personal attorney and financial adviser to his maternal grandfather and namesake Joseph Robinson, founder of the Robinson Manufacturing Company;
Whereas, Mr. Parrott was a founding benefactor of the Freeland Holmes Library in Oxford, and a photograph of him remains on display to this time;
Whereas, in 1929, at the centennial anniversary of the founding of the Town of Oxford, Mr. Parrott was recognized by area newspapers are being one of the town's most prominent sons;
Whereas, since his 1893 purchase of Megquier Island on Thompson Lake, Mr. Parrott returned to it every summer for two decades;
Whereas, J.R. fatigued by the arduous requirements of his vast entrepreneurial demands, and in failing health, chose to spend the entire summer of 1913, at his beloved camp on Thompson Lake, in the village of his birth, Oxford. He died here at 10 p.m. on Monday, October 13, 1913. J.R. was 54 years old.
Therefore, By unanimous declaration the Board of Selectmen of the Town of Oxford, County of Oxford, State of Maine, do hereby proclaim October 13, 2013, the one hundredth anniversary of the death of this most famous native son, Joseph Robinson Parrott Day.